What Is A Determinate Tomato Plant

Tomatoes are one of the best crops any gardener can have in their garden. However, there are two distinct different types of tomato plants; you can choose.

You will see this when browsing through local garden center plants or on packs of seeds, or even from an online source to get a reply to your email address.

You can select from indeterminate or determinate, and each of these terms refers to a particular plant’s growth patterns. In basic terms, it means your tomato plants may be vining varieties or bush varieties.

It can affect how you plant these particular types of plants in your garden, and besides, how much fruit you can expect to harvest.

Here, you can learn further about determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. You will see which you can benefit from and how best to care for them.

Tomato 'Vilma' (Lycopersicon Esculentum) Determinate Vegetable Plant Heirloom,20-30 Seeds

What Types of Tomatoes are Determinate?

Every tomato plant would spread itself across the ground if it weren’t staked and trained upward. If you don’t do this, your plants can become a tangled mess.

Here is an overview of the tomato plant varieties:

Determinate Tomatoes

Many gardeners, in the beginning, may ask, what is a determinate tomato plant, as they start their beginner vegetable garden. You will find this kind of tomato plant will grow to a determined size and ripen fruits in short periods. Most often, you see this is around a length of two weeks.

As soon as the last fruits ripen and are harvested, the plant will stop growing, begin to wither, and don’t offer any new fruits in most instances.

You also find your determinate tomato plant variety classed as ‘bush’ for the reason they don’t extend their size as you progress through your growing season.

The majority of determinate tomatoes grow to heights of 4 to 5 feet. Besides this, there is not much need for pruning a tomato plant as determinate tomato plants cease to grow on their own.

Determinate tomatoes are ideal if you wish to harvest large numbers of tomatoes in one period.

Sweet Chelsea Tomato Garden Seeds - 0.25 Oz ~1875 Seeds - Non-GMO Hybrid Gardening Seeds - VFFNT, Indeterminate - Solanum lycopersicum

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Indeterminate plants are very different from determinate plants because there is no pre-determined size of the plants.

You find this variety continues growing throughout the season. Vining tomato types have the best example of this trait.

The other significant difference between these tomatoes is that indeterminate delivery fruits all through the season. Such a variety makes these a great option if you pick for salads, yet they are not so ideal if you make many sauces from your harvests. (Learn How Far Apart to Plant Tomatoes)

One drawback here is they tend to deliver their fruits later in the season as they spend much of their effort in growing in length.

Plants can range from 6 to well over 10 feet in height or length and can be heavy once they bear fruits.

You can find a need for pruning of tomato plants if they are growing too long and not delivering decent-sized fruits. You will find this variety grows until the first hard frost that ends the season.

How Long Will Determinate Tomatoes Produce?

Determinate tomatoes will deliver one harvest per season. Depending on the varieties you have, this can take from 7 to 14 (48 to 100 days) weeks from planting to harvest time.

Smaller varieties such as cherry tomatoes will deliver a harvest at the lower end of the period. If you grow this type, you can plant them at different times to offer you more than one period of harvesting. However, your region will influence this if temperatures drop. (Read Blood Meal For Tomatoes)

Are Roma Tomatoes Determinate or Indeterminate?

Roma tomato varieties are known as paste tomatoes. You find these have thicker walls in the fruit, contain fewer seeds, and denser flesh. Roma also offers a different shape, and are oblong compared to round as regular determinate tomato varieties.

Roma tomato plant are determinate varieties and are ideal for cooking and canning rather than eating with salads or raw. Other types you can find here are Amish Paste and San Marzano.

It is also possible to find a couple of hybrid tomatoes bred to be determinate and include Rutgers, Marglobe, and Celebrity. You can find these are more semi-determinate as they can offer some of the characteristics of indeterminate. They do have shorter vines that are more in line with bush types of tomatoes, and pruning suckers is an option rather than a necessity.

Are Beefsteak Tomatoes Determinate or Indeterminate?

Beefsteak tomatoes are indeterminate varieties of tomato plants and offer huge fruits compared to many other varieties. Because of this weight, you need heavyweight cages or stakes to support the plants.

Most Beefsteak varieties require a growing season that is of 85 days to harvest, and unfortunately, in most areas of the USA, it isn’t possible to do so.

To extend the growing season to get around this, you can start from transplants and start them off indoors on your garden workbench. March is the best time you can plant seeds until around 8-inches tall, where you can harden them off before transplanting.

One other variety you can find for canning is Better Bush tomatoes, another semi-determinate. You see, this hybrid grows with short vines and produces fruit, reaching up to 4-inches. However, they ripen fast and are a great alternative to longer growing tomato indeterminate varieties.

Another good reason for selecting this hybrid is that there are not many instances where you need to prune tomato plants.


In many cases, you may find you wish to grow both types of tomatoes, and then you know you have a good supply while you can also have plenty to use in the kitchen.

One other thing worth noting is that although tomato plants are perennials, they are often seen as an annual crop, even if they can live for numerous years. (Learn Best Potting Mix For Tomatoes)

No matter which tomatoes you grow, as long as you make sure, they are tended to, they will produce fruit, and this will be through the season or toward the end of the season, depending on if you choose determinate varieties or an indeterminate tomato.

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What Is A Determinate Tomato Plant

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